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Chapter 9B: Anthropology of Violence


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The Yanomami
Group of approximately 35,000 indigenous people. Live in c.200–250 villages in the Amazon rainforest on the border between Venezuela and Brazil. Not a united indigenous tribe. Autonomous communities that are grouped together under the name Yanomami because of their similar cultural and linguistic practices. Communitis are networked together through marriage, kinship, & militaristic coalitions.
Yanomami Communities
Live in villages consisting of parents, children & extended families. Village population between 50- 400 people. Communal system where the entire village lives under a common roof called the shabono. Have village centre in middle of shabono – exterior walls or fence form outer edge of village. Shabono moved about every 4-6 years due to wear, as well as shifting cultivation
Yanomami Customs
Practice polygamy – however, many unions are monogamous. Village life is centered around the small, matrilocal family unit. The larger patrilocal unit has more political importance beyond the village. Rituals are an important part of Yanomami culture. Celebrate a good harvest with a big feast & invite nearby villages. Shamans (males) – use hallucinogenic drugs as part of healing rituals. Practice ritual endocannibalism - consume the cremated & pulverised bones of deceased kinsmen.
Endocannibalism
A practice of eating the flesh of a human being from the same community (tribe, social group or society), usually after they have died. The Yanomami consumed the ground-up bones and ashes of cremated kinsmen in an act of mourning. This is still classified as endocannibalism, although, strictly speaking, "flesh" is not eaten